1991-1993 Kleinhans Fellow: Wil de Jong

Alternatives to Deforestation: Forest Management Practices of Dayaks in West Kalimantan, Indonesia

Project Summary

In West Kalimantan, like in many other parts of the world, rapid deforestation is an ecological threat and is destroying an important subsistence source for local forest dwellers. Many indigenous forest users, however, have developed agroforestry and forest management practices that enable them to harvest non timber forest products for their own use or for markets without seriously affecting the source of these products. These practices may provide alternative land and resource use strategies and therefore need to be studied. This project studied forest management and agroforestry practices of the Dayaks of the kabupaten of Sintang and Kapuas Hulu in West Kalimantan.

The principal objectives of the project were to identify and describe forest management and agroforestry practices of Dayaks in the kabupaten of Sintang or Kapuas Hulu in West Kalimantan, and to assess these practices from an economic and ecological view point. The research applied an interdisciplinary approach, combining anthropological and ecological methods. The researcher stayed for a period of approximately two years in one Dayak community. Informants were interviewed extensively and followed in their daily activities. Research plots in managed forest agroforestry areas were selected in which management activities, spatial distribution of managed or harvested species, and production were documented.

The study provided valuable data to assess forest management and agroforestry practices in West Kalimantan and enabled the researcher to develop forest management guidelines appropriate for communities differing in market participation, forest access, and current patterns of resource use. The researcher's extensive experience with similar practices in Amazonia, allowed very interesting comparative analysis important both for academic research and development of practical alternatives to deforestation.

Forest canopy - photo by Sergio Izquierdo

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